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Social and Organizational Theories of Transformation - 4 ECTS

Date and time

Tuesday 21 February 2023 at 12:30 to Saturday 25 February 2023 at 13:30

Registration Deadline

Thursday 9 February 2023 at 00:00


Porcelænshaven - room PH18B 1.18 (first floor), Porcelænshaven 16B, 2000 Frederiksberg Porcelænshaven - room PH18B 1.18 (first floor)
Porcelænshaven 16B
2000 Frederiksberg

Social and Organizational Theories of Transformation - 4 ECTS

Course coordinators: Poul Fritz Kjær & Mathias Hein Jessen, Department of Business Humanities and Law (BHL)

Department of Business Humanities and Law, CBS
Department of Business Humanities and Law, CBS
Department of Business Humanities and Law, CBS
Department of Business Humanities and Law, CBS
Department of Business Humanities and Law, CBS


There are no formal prerequisites other than that the student must be registered on compatible PhD-programme. In order to receive the course diploma, participants have to be present during the whole course period, have read the literature, engage actively in teaching and discussions. After the conclusion of the course, the student must submit an essay (max. 10 pages) engaging with the theories and discussions of the class in relation to the student’s own PhD-project.
Deadline for submission is 31st March 2023 in order to receive comments from teachers. Essays can be submitted for approval without comments until 28th April 2023. After this date, submissions cannot be made. Submission and approval of essay is necessary in order to be awarded ECTS-points.

We live in a world defined by crises and transformation. Environmental degradation, climate crisis, financial crisis, populism, Covid-19, falling legitimacy of political and economic elites and institutions, just to mention a few. As a result, organizations and businesses are increasingly focusing on transformation as a way to encounter the ‘crisis of legitimacy’ confronting the current setup of economy and society, just as politicians and policy-makers on all sides of the political spectrum calls for the economy to be more thoroughly (re-)embedded within society. 
This course enables the students to critically interrogate and analyse the foundations of the economy using the tools of social and organizational theory, as well as insights into alternative ways of imagining it. In order to understand, assess and facilitate transformation, we need to understand the current situation. The course introduces the students to a number of different approaches and understandings of what transformation is and how we can understand it, rooted in social and organizational theory. It also gives the student insights into both the dominant organizational and corporate forms, forms of economic thinking and rationalities, as well as into transformative potentials and alternative organizational forms.
Course content
Module 1: Theories of transformation
This module introduces to the course in general, the approach, the current problems and challenges that we encounter, as well as introducing to a number of social theory paradigms of transformation. It asks the fundamental question: where does transformation come from and who are the agents of transformation? It also outlines how transformation has been and can be thought.

Module 2: Transforming political economies
This module introduces to different ways of thinking the economy, economic relations and the role of organizations within it. It outlines the historical transformation in the conception and organization of political economies through the three paradigms of corporatism, neo-corporatism and governance, and proposes to look at transformation through competition (law).

Module 3: Transforming the corporation
This module goes into depth with the most dominant organization of our economy: the corporation. The module introduces to the history and evolution of the corporation form, and its congealment in the private, publicly owned multinational corporation. It also introduces to recent critical theories of the corporation and a political theory of the corporation as well as alternatives to the corporations and attempts to transform it through cooperatively- and worker-owned corporations, workplace democracy and purpose.

Module 4: Transforming capitalism
This module goes into depth with theories of capitalism, its development as well as different critiques of it. It also goes into discussions about forms of reimagining capitalism and alternative economies, societies and communities on the examples of pre-figurative politics, cooperatives and eco-villages.

Module 5: Transforming organizing
This module focuses on the theory and practice of 'alternative organizations’ as discussed in management and organization studies. It explores the normative foundations, practices and challenges of organizing differently and interrogates alternative conceptions of innovation, leadership, diversity and digitalism that seek to challenge the prevailing dominance of shareholder value, growth and competition in capitalist organizing.
Teaching style

The course consists of 5 modules, each taking up a different theme. Each module consists of lectures, discussions and case work. Each module will introduce a theoretical and critical approach to a dominant aspect of our current economic situation, as well as approaches to its transformation.
Lecture plan
As of 30 January 2023: The course has changed from 5 days to 4 days, and the lecture plan has as such changed: See rewised lecture plan

Day 1: Monday (20th February)
Module 1: Theories of transformation
12:30-13:00: Welcome and introduction (Poul F. Kjaer & Mathias Hein Jessen)
13.00-14:30 Session 1: Lecture: Paradigms of transformation (Poul F. Kjaer & Mathias Hein Jessen)
15:00-16:30: Session 2: Workshop: Introductions (Poul F. Kjaer & Mathias Hein Jessen)
18:30: Welcome dinner.

Day 2: Tuesday (21st February)
Module 2: Transforming political economies
09.00-10.30: Session 3: Lecture: Three paradigms of political economy: corporatism, neo-corporatism and governance (Poul F. Kjaer)
11.00-12.30: Session 4: Lecture: Transformation through competition (law) (Poul F. Kjær)
12:30-13:30: Lunch
13:30-15: 00 Session 5: Discussion: Transforming political economy (Poul F. Kjær)

Day 3: Wednesday (22nd February)
Module 3: Transforming the corporation
09:00-10:30: Session 6: Lecture: Financialization and shareholder value maximization (Mathias Hein Jessen)
11:00-12:30: Session 7: Lecture: The political theory of the corporation (Mathias Hein Jessen)
12:30-13:30: Lunch
13:30-15:00 Session 8: Lecture: Workplace democracy and democratic business (Benjamin Ask Popp-Madsen)

Day 4: Thursday (23rd February)
09:00-10:30: Session 9: Discussion: Transforming the corporation (Benjamin Ask Popp-Madsen)
Module 4: Transforming capitalism
11:00-12:30: Session 10: Lecture: Defining, historicizing and criticizing capitalism (Lara Monticelli)
12:30-13:30: Lunch
13:30-15:00: Session 11: Discussion: Re-imagining capitalism and its alternatives (Lara Monticelli)

Day 5: Friday (24th February)
Module 5: Transforming organizing
09.00-10.30: Session 12: Lecture: Organizing for change: Strategies of alternative organizations (Birke Otto)
11.00-12.30: Session 13: Discussion: Transforming organizing (Birke Otto)
12:30-13:30: Lunch, evaluation and goodbye (Mathias Hein Jessen & Poul F. Kjær)
Learning objectives

The course offers insight into:
Various theoretical paradigms and approaches to transformation

Theoretical understandings of the relation between the economy and society, as well as contemporary challenges

Historical, contemporary and future transformations of corporate constitutions and organizational forms, e.g. stakeholder models, shareholder models, cooperative models

Economic, political, legal, sociological, philosophical and historical approaches to corporate and organizational forms and governance in a societal perspective, with a focus on societal legitimation struggles

Alternative organizational forms and other ways and approaches to transforming economy and society.


Notes: In case we receive more registrations for the course than we have places the registrations will be prioritized in the following order: Students from CBS departments, students from other institutions than CBS.

Payment methods:

CBS students: Choose CBS students in the payment methods and the course fee will be deducted from your PhD budget.

Students from other Danish Universities: Fill in your EAN number, attention and possible purchase (projekt) order number. Do you not pay by  EAN number please choose Invoice to pay via Giro card payment. 

Students from foreign universities: Please pay by credit card payment. Are you not able to pay by credit card please choose Invoice international to pay via bank transfer. 

Please note that your registration is binding after the registration deadline.

Event Location

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Organizer Contact Information

CBS PhD School
Nina Iversen

Phone: +45 3815 2475

Organizer Contact Information

CBS PhD School
Nina Iversen

Phone: +45 3815 2475